A webinar on investment opportunities in Pakistan was held today by MEDEF, the largest business federation in France, Embassy of Pakistan in Paris and French Embassy in Islamabad.
Mr. Atif R. Bokhari, Minister of State and Chairman Board of Investment of Pakistan, in his key note speech, invited the French entrepreneurs, investors and businessmen to invest in Special Economic Zones established by Pakistan, especially in food processing, information technology, housing and construction, travel and tourism and agriculture sectors and benefit from Pakistan’s liberal investment regime and stable political and security situation of the country. He also encouraged the French investors and businesspersons to consider investing into the Information Technology Park being established in Islamabad.
The event was attended by a large number of Pakistani and French companies. The Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr. Moin ul Haque and Ms. Nora SUSBIELLE, Deputy Head of the Asia-Pacific Department of the French Ministry of Economy and Finance attended from France. Mr. Atif R. Bokhari, Chairman Board of Investment of Pakistan and Mr. Marc BARETY, Ambassador of France to Pakistan took part in the event from Pakistan.
Mr. Thierry Pflimlin, President of Pakistan France Business Council and President of Total Global Services, in his remarks said that the French and Pakistani companies should explore the emerging business and investment opportunities as both the countries restart their economies in the wake of Covid 19 lockdowns.
The Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr. Moin ul Haque briefed the participants about the economic challenges being faced by Pakistan due to Covid 19 and the government’s relief stimulus package to help business and vulnerable segment of the society. We noted that while Covid 19 has stressed the economies of the world, it has also created opportunities.
Mr. Marc Barety, Ambassador of France spoke about the huge potential that exists between Pakistan and France in further strengthening their economic and investment relations. He said that cooperation between small and medium enterprises of the two countries is among the priority areas for enhancing business ties.
The webinar was part of Embassy of Pakistan, Paris efforts to sustain the momentum of bilateral economic and investment relations between Pakistan and France despite the difficulties and disruptions posed by Covid 19 pandemic.
KARACHI: Foreign direct investment (FDI) more than doubled to $2.1 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year mainly on Chinese inflows and spectrum proceeds from Norway, the central bank’s data showed on Monday.
The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) data showed that FDI amounted to $905.1 million in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.
The surge in FDI was mainly driven by increased Chinese inflows followed by Norway. Net direct investment from China rose to $872 million in July-March FY2020 from $22.4 million a year earlier. Investment from Norway increased to $288.5 million from $6.4 million.
In March, FDI also increased to $278.7 million from $145.4 million in the corresponding month a year earlier.
Analysts are cautious to predict the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that hit the global economy with growth forecast at negative three percent in the current fiscal year
“The extent of damage is unknown. It is too early to make a guess,” Abdul Aleem, CEO of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “So going forward, this environment of doom and gloom is bound to negatively impact on the capacity and motivation of the leading international organisations and countries who regularly lead FDI in the developing world.”
Aleem said the level of FDI would likely be lower globally for next 12-18 months and Pakistan might also be part of this downward trend.
“Although we feel, that with highly attractive cost of production, due to extremely low Pakistan rupee to USD, and a large middle class market potential, Pakistan should be on the radar of many MNCs (multinational companies) looking for opportunities to relocate their manufacturing facility for local consumption and export,” he added.
In July-March, power sector fetched the highest FDI of $757.4 million compared with an outflow of $353.1 million in the corresponding period last year. Another noticeable increase was seen in communication sector that received $490.3 million FDI as against the outflow of $141.1 million.
Aleem said FDI in Pakistan has been well below the real economic potential of the country over the years, for various reasons, including negative perception of the country. “The world is currently in the middle of one of the most challenging threats in the form of COVID-19, which has severe human and economic consequences.”
“Pakistan could be very attractive place for growing export of IT services,” he said, however. “Philippines, for example, a country half of our size in population, has annual IT export of over $30 billion, more than our total exports. Why is Pakistan lagging behind, is a point to ponder for all stakeholders in this sector, more so for the regulators.”
The SBP’s data further showed that foreign portfolio investment in stock market saw an outflow of $103.3 million in nine months compared with $409.5 million outflows last year. Foreign investment in market treasury bills and Pakistan Investment Bonds stood at $331.1 million compared with $0.7 million a year ago. Total foreign investment rose 380 percent to $2.375 billion in July-March FY2020.
CPEC has been progressing and contributing to Pakistan’s economic and social development even in the face of adverse circumstances due to covid-19. The mega project brings solidarity, assistance and confidence to the people of Pakistan.
To add impetus to CPEC projects, on March 16 and 17, President Arif Alvi paid a state visit to China. The leadership of the two countries met and agreed to further promote the development of CPEC. An MoU was signed to set up two new working groups on science, technology and agriculture, under the framework of CPEC.
On March 25, the working group meeting on energy was held. The working group will continue to meet and coordinate with other working groups under the CPEC framework to make preparations for the JCC meeting.
Contrary to negative speculation, China has not withdrawn engineers working on CPEC projects nor laid off Pakistani workers since the outbreak of covid-19 in Pakistan. Currently, CPEC hosts nearly 7000 Chinese and 40,000 Pakistani employees. Over 40,000 Pakistani families are directly supported by the CPEC projects.
The energy sector under CPEC continues to provide power. Transportation projects facilitate the transportation of medical materials. The Special Economic Zones (SEZ)s under CPEC exhibit economic vitality. The social sector under CPEC provides relief to the public.
It is heartening that, owing to concerted precautions for preventing COVID-19, no infection occurred at any of the CPEC projects. The Chinese companies attach great importance to the protection of both Chinese and Pakistani employees. Some companies are planning to send medical teams to Pakistan to better protect the projects and the joint interests of the two peoples.
So far, China has donated 125,400 COVID-19 Real-time PCR Kits, 2.8 million surgical masks, 0.42million N95 masks, 1.2 million medical gloves, 0.21 million medical protection suits and 217 ventilators to Pakistan, and also provided $4 million to the Pakistani government for building an emergency hospital. Chinese medical experts’ teams are in Pakistan to provide assistance and expertise in the fight against covid-19. There are more in the pipeline.
Chinese companies working in CPEC projects have made themselves a part of the local community and are active in lending a helping hand in different ways to Pakistan. All provinces have benefited from this.
Some examples are the All Pakistan Chinese Enterprises’ Association, under whose aegis, some companies have provided medical supplies and donations to Pakistan to fight against covid-19.
Zonergy Company Limited of China, and the China Machinery Engineering Corporation called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on 8 April and donated Rs 5 million to the Prime Minister’s covid-19 Relief Fund. They also donated medical supplies worth Rs 3 million to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that include 30,000 masks, 100 N95 masks and 300 protection suits. The industrial and commercial bank of China has donated medical supplies to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing. Power China Port Qasim Electric Power Company (Private) Limited donated Rs 321,000 to Pakistan’s medical authorities for fighting the covid-19 epidemic.
In Baluchistan, the Gwadar East-Bay Expressway Project in collaboration with China Overseas Ports Holding Company and the Chinese Red Cross medical team in Gwadar has donated medical supplies to GDA Hospital. TChina Power Hub Generation Company (Pvt.) Ltd. (CPHGC) has donated ration bags to the deserving families in the villages of Hub. The CPHGC also distributed 1000 kg of disinfectants and 2000 masks to the AC Hub’s office. In KP, China Railway Construction Corporation (International) Limited presented epidemic prevention materials, including face masks and hand sanitizers, to the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. China Railway presented face masks and disinfectants to Pakistan Railways.
CPEC has created more than 75,000 jobs directly and 200,000 jobs indirectly for the Pakistani people, with its per capita income increased by 23 percent. More than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises have participated in the construction of CPEC, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs. CPEC is expected to create 2.3 million jobs between 2015 and 2030 and boost Pakistan’s annual economic growth rate by 2 to 2.5 percent, according to the Pakistani government.
Amid the contribution of CPEC, Pakistan is ranked 108 in the ease of doing business from 136, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. Under the joint planning of the two governments, the next phase of development of CPEC will continue to advance infrastructure construction, focus on people’s livelihood, and industrial and agricultural cooperation, maintain a sound momentum of high-quality development and bring more benefits to the two countries and peoples.
In the realm of energy, 12 power projects have either been completed or are under construction. The total installed capacity of these projects is 7240 MW with total investment of about $12.4 billion. In addition, nine projects are under preparation, with a total installed capacity of 6390 MW.
As of fiscal year 2018-19, COD CPEC energy projects had generated $250 million in tax revenue for Pakistan and provided over 10,000 jobs. They now accounted for 14.5 percent of available energy in the NTDC grid.
The Havelian-Mansehra section of the Karakorum Highway (KKH) II opened to traffic on 18 November 18, and it resolves the trip problem along the KKH. The Highway helps to shorten the travel time from 3 hours to 30 minutes. Work on upgrading the KKH’s Havelian-Thakot section is also on track for timely completion. The 392-km-long Multan-Sukkur section of the Peshawar-Karachi-Motorway was completed ahead of schedule and inaugurated at the 9th JCC in November 2019. The project has created about 29,000 local jobs, and a large number of Pakistani technicians have been trained during its construction.
In Gwadar, work on the redesigned Eastbay Expressway and the New Gwadar International Airport is proceeding according to timelines. Various issues regarding Orange Line Mass Transit project in Lahore had been resolved, and the project will start operation soon.
The Chinese and Pakistani sides agreed to expedite the design review and feasibility approval of the Main Line-I (ML-1) Peshawar-Karachi railway project. Both sides also agreed to constitute a financing committees to explore the possibility of renminbi financing. Both sides agreed to consider the Quetta mass transit and the greater Peshawar mass transit projects in the next JWG Meeting after approval of their PC-1s.
The Gwadar new airport was launched in October 2019. The construction work is being carried out according to plan. Construction work of the China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School is in full swing and expected to be completed by this year. China-Pakistan Gwadar Vocational Technical School was launched on January and was supposed to be completed in July 2021. The 300 MW coal-fired power plant was launched in March, and its preparatory work would be expedited.
China plans to dispatch experts’ teams for the early implementation of a 1.2 million gallons per day desalination plant. The Initial District of Gwadar Free Zone has got over 20 enterprises residents, with a direct investment over $600 million. Detailed planning is being undertaken for the further development of the Free Zone which had already been granted considerable concessions.
The China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital will be launched soon. A medical college and nursing school would be considered for Phase I of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) hospital project.
In the last JCC, progress on three SEZs, Rashakai, Dhabeji, and Allama Iqbal, was reviewed. The importance for supporting infrastructure, targeted incentives for investors and a “one-window” facility, was reaffirmed.
The first round of business diagnosis for Pakistani’s textiles sector was undertaken and its findings on enhancing industrial productivity and overall competitiveness were presented. It was agreed to expand and deepen the business-diagnosis mechanism to other industrial sub-sectors. It was agreed to activate the Pakistan-China Business Council to give full play to the private sectors of both countries. The Council would comprise senior executives from leading enterprises.
In the Socioeconomic Development and Agriculture, out of 17 fast-track socioeconomic development projects, 12 were ready for commencement, while the remaining five projects would also be expedited. Special emphasis was placed on early launch of Pakistan-China joint agricultural technology laboratory. Both sides would also enhance cooperation in agricultural areas including deep processing technology, fisheries, and disease-free zones. Both sides also agreed to accelerate the procedures for: (a) Balochistan Solar Power Lighting Equipment; (b) Drinking Water Equipment Supply (solar-powered pumps in KP and water filtration plants in AJK); (c) Smart Classroom Project for Higher Education; (d) Provision of Medical Equipment and Material; (e) Pakistan Vocational School Equipment.
Despite the black clouds of covid-19 hovering, CPEC endeavours in the backdrop of the pandemic are providing social, industrial and economic support to Pakistan.
Pakistan and Malaysia have agreed to build a strong economic partnership and work together on issues affecting the Muslim Ummah.
The understanding came at talks between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at Putrajaya.
The two sides agreed for regular discussions to strengthen the trade and investment relations by removing barriers in key areas. Both the sides also expressed commitment to build stronger ties in the areas of defense, law enfrocement, tourism and education.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government makes new investment offers to the British Investors.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar on Tuesday invited the British investors to tap opportunities in Pakistan’s exploration and production (E&P) sector.
He extended this invitation to a British delegation, led by Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner Simon Penny, on Tuesday. UK’s Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Mike Nithavrianakis and British High Commission Deputy Director for Trade Ms Olivia Campbell were also the part of delegation.
KARACHI: Bangladesh aims to meet a challenging $50 billion export target by 2021 and wants Pakistan to expand its investment partnership with it for making the most of the opportunities available in the world’s s second largest garments' exporter.
“I invite Pakistani businessmen to import more from Bangladesh,” said Tarik Ahsan, High Commissioner of Bangladesh, in a seminar titled “‘Taking Bangladesh where export and investment grow better” organised by his office at a local hotel. Ahsan said Pakistani companies had significant investment in apparel sector in Bangladesh, while his country had established 100 economic zones for facailitating foreign investment.
LONDON: The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a leading real estate company taking investment to Pakistan from the United Kingdom has said that there’s been a slump in the market for a few months but now the investment is picking up with buyers showing more interest and actually buying affordable plots.
The Citi Housing Society’s Maryam Hamza said that Pakistanis in the UK are increasingly investing in Pakistan’s housing schemes as a way to secure long-term investment.
KARACHI: Pakistan offers a potential $96.2 billion investment opportunity for the private sector to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Standard Chartered SDG Investment Map said on Monday.
The study, Opportunity2030, identified opportunities for the private sector to contribute to three infrastructure-focused goals between now and 2030: SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy; and SDG 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure across emerging markets.
The Chief US diplomat for South Asian Affairs Alice Wells said Friday that the American energy firms and manufacturers are interested in the Pakistani market.
Wells, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, said that Exxon-Mobil, Excelerate, Cargill and Honeywell are all pursuing major new investments.
The US diplomat said that online taxi service Uber is creating 80,000 jobs for Pakistani youth.
LAHORE: Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Sunday said that investment in the country had increased manifold due to the prudent policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Addressing an event in Lahore, he said that PTI government had not only uplifted the ailing economy but also virtually put it on a path of growth.
“Investment in the country has increased by 78%,” he said.